South Carolina Is an At-Fault State: What It Means

If another driver’s negligence causes you to be injured in a car accident, it can leave you in a state of confusion with no idea where to turn for the help you need.

How is fault assigned in South Carolina? Is South Carolina an at-fault state or a no-fault state? What does that even mean for you?

Having a better understanding of how South Carolina handles car accident claims can help you proceed. Start by protecting your rights to the compensation to which you are entitled by consulting with an experienced Moncks Corner car accident attorney at West Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers.

What Does At-Fault State Mean?

South Carolina is an at-fault state, in the sense that if you suffered an injury in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you could seek compensation for your losses – or legal damages – by filing a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance.

Further, South Carolina motorists are required by the state to carry specific coverage minimums that include the following:

  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per accident in property damage liability, which covers damage to the other driver’s vehicle
  • The same minimums as above in uninsured motorist (UM) coverage

This at-fault approach is distinctly different from the approach that no-fault states take.

No-Fault vs. At-Fault States

While South Carolina is an at-fault state, some others are what are known as no-fault states. While every state has its own laws when it comes to car accidents – regardless of whether they are considered no-fault or at-fault states – no-fault states generally implement the following rules:

  • Motorists are required to carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP).
  • If a motorist suffers an injury in a car accident, their PIP policy covers their losses regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
  • Claimants cannot seek compensation for the pain and suffering they endure in their PIP claims.

Most states that identify as no-fault states set a threshold that – when reached – allows claimants to sue the at-fault driver directly, which typically means through their insurance provider. This threshold is often a monetary cap, which means that if the amount of damages the claimant suffers exceeds this limit, they can move forward with their lawsuit.

Some states, however, set thresholds that have to do with the kind or severity of the injuries sustained. In other words, while the laws that guide South Carolina car accident claims are exceptionally complicated, they are more straightforward than those that guide no-fault states.

What If You Share Responsibility for the Accident in South Carolina?

Many people who share responsibility – or who believe they may share responsibility –  for the accidents that leave them injured think they have no recourse in terms of recovering on their damages. This, however, is not how it works in South Carolina.

Because South Carolina implements what is known as modified comparative negligence, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver as long as you are not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.

If you do share responsibility, you can seek the percentage of compensation for which the other driver is determined to be responsible. For example, if you are found to share 10 percent of the responsibility and your total damages add up to $100,000, your settlement amount will be reduced by 10 percent – leaving you with a settlement of $90,000.

It’s important to note that the matter of fault as it relates to car accidents is determined in accordance with the evidence, such as the following:

  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Pictures and videos taken at the scene of the car accident, which may include dashcam footage
  • Evidence gathered at the scene of the car accident
  • Expert testimony
  • Accident recreation models

Your car accident attorney will gather all the available evidence to determine fault in your case carefully. This means that you shouldn’t let your doubt or feelings of guilt, which many innocent motorists experience, stop you from seeking the compensation to which you are entitled.

Your Car Accident Claim in South Carolina

If you suffered an injury from another driver’s negligence in South Carolina, you would file your claim with that driver’s insurance provider. Such claims are generally based on forms of driver negligence like the following:

  • Failure to follow the rules of the road
  • Exhaustion
  • Aggression
  • Excess speed
  • Impairment
  • Distraction

In your claim, you can seek compensation for the full range of losses you experience, including all the following:

  • Medical expenses, including ongoing costs
  • Lost income, including long-term losses such as a decrease in earning potential
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering

A primary component of your car accident claim is ensuring that your complete losses are clearly represented, and this is a task your dedicated car accident attorney will ably handle.

Turn to an Experienced Moncks Corner Car Accident Attorney

The West Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, is a family firm that goes back several generations and takes great pride in its deep connection with the community.

Mason West is our trusted car accident attorney who dedicates his practice to skillfully guiding challenging claims like yours toward advantageous outcomes. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 843-865-6569 today.

Car Accident Case FAQs

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

Yes, this time limit is known as the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, and it is only three years from the date of the accident that causes you to be injured.

How much does hiring an attorney cost?

Most reputable South Carolina car accident attorneys work on contingency, which means they don’t get paid – a prearranged percentage – until their clients’ claims settle or receive court awards.

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